The Drew Public Library is one of the 18 libraries in Mississippi to benefit from $90,000 worth of equipment and software from Microsoft Corporation. The Drew Library, through the Sunflower County Library System, has received a Gateway 2000 computer with CD-ROM drive, CD-ROM changer, software package including Windows 95, Microsoft Works, and other programs. CD-ROM programs include atlases, road maps, music, an encyclopedia, a reference set, childrens programs, and many more.
The gift also includes training in installation and use of the system. Libraries were selected from those areas having the lowest family incomes. In addition, the library had to be open to the public at least 25-hours per week.
According to the Mississippi Library Commission, not since the days of the rural electrification project and the construction of hard surface roads has any technological advance offered so much promise for the social and technological development of the disadvantaged regions of Mississippi.
The state legislature recently approved funding to connect every county library to the Internet. The Libraries Online! Project will help support this effort by providing hardware and software to seed the poorest counties with multimedia PCs and Internet access.
The second largest gathering in the past six years gathered in the Prentiss Public Library April 17 to witness what could be the next step in library evolution.
More than 55 people showed at the library to participate in a computer online "chat" with Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates to introduce the "Libraries Online!" program, a cooperative program designed by Microsoft and the American Library Association.
"Libraries Online!" provides public access to the Internet and multimedia computers nationwide, especially to disadvantaged and rural communities. Eighteen sites in Mississippi were selected to join in the programs pilot enterprise.
"The Internet and the PC revolution have created phenomenal opportunities in business, schools, libraries and the home," Gates said in a Mississippi Library Commission public release. "The PC is really empowering people to do so many great things. Our vision is to create a connected community in which students, parents teachers, librarians and others are collaborating to create a dynamic learning environment. We believe libraries can be a great place to access information technologies."
More Local News Stories about Libraries Online!
More about the Mississippi Library Commission Libraries Online! Site